How to Handle the Check Engine Light

What You Should Know

The check engine light may be the most misunderstood piece of equipment found in your vehicle. Although it's understandable to view it with dread and frustration, the light should actually be viewed with a little more appreciation. Sure, it may not let you know what exactly is wrong with your vehicle unless you own an OBD II tool, but it does let you know that something is wrong! It even informs you of the severity of the problem, so you’ll know how to act the moment the light is triggered!

If the light does come on, it’s important to pay attention to specific factors and perform certain actions to ensure you and your vehicle are safe. Although the light isn’t ideal, implementing these three habits will ensure that the next time the light comes on, you’ll be prepared.

Tighten the Gas Cap

A loose gas cap is a common culprit when the check engine light is triggered. Make sure that you either tighten the gas cap or replace it with a new one before you start driving again. Along with that, make sure you stay patient with your vehicle, as it may take several miles before the computer system in your vehicle registers and adjusts to the change you made.

Check for Different Colors/Flashing Pattern

One thing that many people don’t know is that although the light won’t inform you what specifically is the problem, it will inform you of its severity. If you see the check engine light is steady and not blinking, it means the issue with your vehicle is not urgent. With that said, it’s still important to visit our shop as soon as possible, as the issue can become urgent if not promptly handled.

If you see the check engine light has changed to a red light (will vary on vehicle) or if it is blinking, that means there is a serious issue with your vehicle and that it requires immediate attention. Failing to do so can cause major damage to your vehicle!

Reduce Stress On Your Vehicle

If you see the check engine light is blinking, the best course of action is to stop your vehicle immediately. If that’s not possible, dramatically reduce your speed so your engine isn’t working that hard. If you’re towing something, consider temporarily unloading it so it removes the strain from your vehicle. Although it won’t fix the problem, it will help alleviate the stress from your vehicle’s engine and prevent the issue from becoming worse!

Written by Auto Stop